We’re here to tell you why you should join your university feminist society.

We’ve rounded up all the best reasons for joining your university feminist society. 2016 was a weird year for feminism. The movement came into the mainstream more than ever before, but America also elected Donald ‘Tiny Hands’ Trump as President of The United States of America, so it was all a bit mixed. If you’re headed off to university in September, or if you’ve already been at uni a while and fancy trying something different, here are the reasons why you should join your university feminist society.

1. University Rape Culture

join your university feminist society - carry that weight

Image: community.sparknotes.com

Because a man once told me he ‘found the idea of rape culture offensive to men because it implied that all men wanted to do was go around and rape people’ *face palm*, let’s start with defining what rape culture actually is:

Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.

And here are some examples of how rape culture manifests itself in our universities:

  • Drinking games that degrade women
  • Pressure on men to ‘score’
  • Pressure on women to be neither ‘cold’ nor ‘a slut’
  • Using rape as a joke
  • Assuming that men can’t be raped
  • Teaching women how not to be raped instead of telling men not to rape
  • Sharing, filming or stealing intimate images without consent
  • Shaming women for being promiscuous
  • Turning a blind eye to sexual assault or rape allegations

People convicted of rape or sexual assault getting a lighter sentence because they are good at sports. (Seriously, what even is that?)

Rape culture perpetuates a cycle of fear. Women who are sexually assaulted don’t want to come forward because they fear that they won’t be taken seriously, they fear retribution from their assaulter and they might even think that they are responsible for being raped. Societies and student unions can put pressure on their universities to combat the rise of rape culture and create a more inclusive, safer environment for everyone.

2. You’ll meet like-minded people

If you’re all about your equal rights and the kind of person who writes ‘feminist’ in their Twitter bio (hello), then you’ll be able to find like-minded people who share your views on feminism and equality. There’s no better feeling than being able to talk to people who reflect your opinions back at you, and I’m sure some of the people you meet will become friends for life.

3. You’ll meet people you completely disagree with

No, I’m not kidding. Whilst it’s lovely to surround yourself with people who completely agree with you, we all need to get different perspectives. There’s no one way of doing feminism, and you’ll be sure to find impassioned, enthusiastic people who think your ideas are a bit rubbish. Get good at debating and learn to see the world from other people’s perspective. It’ll make you a better feminist.

4. Instersectionality

join your university feminist society - we can all do it

The more feminism comes into the mainstream, the more it is undoubtedly having a bit of an image problem. Commonly regarded as a luxury only afforded to white, cisgender, middle-class women at a time when feminism needs to be more inclusive than ever, there’s an uphill battle to fight. ‘Safe-spaces’ where minority women can discuss their own versions of feminism are amazing and valuable and need to exist, but the overall movement still needs to become more inclusive and more representative if it is to become stronger. White feminists must educate themselves more about feminist issues that don’t directly affect them (give Kimberle Crenshaw’s ‘Mapping The Margins’ a go) and step aside to allow others to speak. So if you think you have an unique view on feminism, or just something different to offer, then join a feminist society, improve it and make your voice heard!

5. Someone tells you not to

Don’t worry, the irony of this point is not lost on me, but honestly, much of my motivation comes from someone who tells me I can’t, or shouldn’t do a thing. I’m weak when it comes to reverse psychology, so if someone tells me that being a feminist is ‘unattractive’ or that eating more than a man is ‘unladylike’, I’ll take a big sip of tea from my ‘votes for women’ mug and start tucking into a vat of spaghetti bolognese.

6. Donald Trump

join your university feminist society - tiny hands donald trump

You’d be a bit bonkers to join a feminist society solely because Donald Trump exists, especially in the UK, but bear with me here. The election of Mr Tiny Hands is a huge step backwards for feminism in America but it’s also a symptom of a wider problem. When America elects a president who leers at underage girls, suggests that women should be treated like s**t and spends a large majority of his time hiding behind a keyboard, tweeting in capital letters about the physical attractiveness of powerful women, it’s not a good sign for the future of women’s rights in America (although is it satisfying to think of how terrifying he finds Arianna Huffington).

52% of white women who voted voted for Trump, alongside 63% of white men. But 93% of black women voted for Hillary Clinton. So how can their views possibly be represented by the current administration? This is not just an issue of gender, but viewing the US election through a feminist lens can make things clearer. Privileged, middle-class people, regardless of gender, voted for Trump because they don’t see issues of gender and race as important to them. Their privilege not only protects them, it makes them blind to the discrimination of others. It’s all too easy for women to say that equal rights has been achieved, just because on paper we are entitled to equal pay, we can vote, and our husbands are not allowed to rape us legally anymore. But the world is still a deeply unequal place, there’s still a hell of a lot of fighting to do and we must never be complacent.

If I ever become a woman who makes Trump so angry that he tweets about how ugly I am, then I will have succeeded in life.

7. The Handmaid’s Tale

No explanation needed.

Here’s a selection of societies from UK Universities:

If you enjoyed think we think you'll love:

So, read The Handmaid’s Tale, speak out against sexism and present a united front by joining your university feminist society.

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